LAKEMORE A groundbreaking ceremony was held for Tyler’s Redemption Place, the first relapse prevention and wellness center of its kind in Ohio, which will be located at the former Edwin Shaw property in Lakemore.
A choked-up Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor spoke to the many officials and residents that came to support the Bornstein family, founders of Hope United and Tyler’s Redemption Place. Taylor, a Springfield Township native, has been friends with the Bornstein’s through their ties as students of Springfield Schools.
"I have known Travis and Shelly (Bornstein) for almost as long as I can remember." Taylor said, "We, who have seen addiction recovery up close, know that the good start treatment provides is vital but offers no guarantee of long-term success."
Models have demonstrated that a sustaining recovery environment will substantially improve the chances for those racing against time for their very lives. At the groundbreaking, held Sept. 28, Taylor said she was honored to celebrate the start of Tyler’s Redemption Place.
Travis Bornstein said he began dating Shelly in the eighth grade.
"There has always been one girl for me and that is Shelly," he said. "We got married when I got out of the Marine Corp and we bought a house two blocks from here."
Travis said that on December 23, 1990, "we brought home our greatest gift, Tyler." Tearfully, he said they brought him home in a car seat, put him under the Christmas Tree, put a bow on his head and took a picture.
"Life was good," Travis Bornstein said.
That changed for the family four years ago on Sept. 28 when the Uniontown couple received word that their son, 23-year-old Tyler, was found dead from a heroin/fentanyl overdose.
"What do you do when your hopes and dreams are left in a field to die? Who are you as a family when tragedy strikes? We made a commitment that we were going to take the worst thing that could happen to us as parents and do something with it," Travis said.
The Bornsteins have since worked with many in the community to think outside of the box and not duplicate treatment. It is about bringing support, education and recovery to communities suffering from the addiction epidemic. The purpose is to give hope to those in recovery, give them support and fellowship and a place to build skills for their mind, body and spirit.
Taylor said Tyler’s Redemption Place plays an important role as a model to the many more that "we need to follow and give more opportunities for Ohioans living with addiction."
She said they were celebrating the foresight of Summit County for making the site available and the determination, ingenuity and service of the Bornstein family in the memory of their son.
"This is not about Travis, not about Shelly, not even about Tyler. This is for all the families that have lost a child or a loved one to addiction," said Travis. "I’m not even sure this is about them. It is about all those people in our community who think no one loves them, nobody cares about them. All the folks that didn’t get the treatment they deserved."
Travis said there are people that don’t understand and think if you mess with alcohol or drugs you deserve to be left out in a field to die.
"This movement is for those in recovery or are out there that just need somebody to offer them hope, and love," he said. "We are never, ever, ever, ever going to give up on you."
Bob Roberts said his family and the Bornsteins have lived side-by-side for 19 years.
"Our kids grew up together, we saw the challenges and the ups and the downs," Roberst said.
Roberts added the stories Tyler told his parents about the challenges of his addiction were true, that it wasn’t a short-term thing, he needed a long-term solution.
"You took his words to heart and said, 'we are going to grieve but we are going to build something from that' and that thing is Tyler’s Redemption Place," said Roberts. "Our family has had the privilege to observe Travis and Shelly’s incredible faith that gives them the strength and purpose behind Hope United."
Pastor and Hope United Board Member Lennie McKinney from Crossview Church gave the prayer of dedication at the ceremony. Others that were in attendance included members of the board for Hope United, Lakemore council members, Akron City council, Springfield trustees, numerus judges, Sheriff Steve Barry, Lakemore police and fire and the Teamsters, who also loaned the use of the trailer for speakers.
Roberts said the Teamsters International, through its incredible generosity, provided the seed money to get the project started and "without them this wouldn’t be a possibility today."
"One thing Hope United is for me is inspiring," said Lakemore Mayor Rick Justice. "What they have done in this journey to get here today is amazing. We are symbolizing the start of the future. This group has established themselves as a solid force to fight against this epidemic."
Justice reflected to about 100 years ago when the same site was developed to fight the epidemic of their day, tuberculosis.
"Today, we are putting shovels in the ground to fight the epidemic of our day which is the opiate crisis," he siad.
Justice told the Bornstein family that residents, the Fire Department, the Police Department, council, the Road Department and administration support them.
"We want to be partners and join in and help whenever we can," he said.
Other dignitaries speaking at the groundbreaking were State Representatives Tavia Galonski and Robert Sprague, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Regional Representative to Senator Sherrod Brown Leah Jones and District Representative to Senator Rob Portman Josh Prest.
Traditional treatment is 30, 60 or 90 days and 70 percent of those treated relapse in the first year. When that treatment ends, Tyler’s Redemption will provide a safe place for those struggling.
"It is going to be about love and compassion," said Travis.
"Tyler, who lost his race, but in doing so, wrote the track for others to win theirs," Taylor added. "On behalf of the Taylor family and the State of Ohio, thank you Travis and Shelly for showing us that service to others is the path forward to mending broken hearts."
MAYBE use this as a box item
Last year in the U.S. 72,000 people died of a drug overdose. The new facility will emphasize wellness and will house a gym, space for art therapy, a theatre and café which is all directed at keeping people sober and mentally healthy after rehab.
Shelly Bornstein, Tyler’s mother, taking the first scoop of dirt to begin the process of building Tyler’s Redemption Place.
Sharing a hug is Shelly hugging Travis after he spoke at the groundbreaking.
Travis Bornstein teary eyed as a choked up (ignore the spelling on the label) Taylor speaks.
Family breaks ground at Tyler Redemption site.
General crowd picture